Spencer Nind

A Woodlesford totem in the colours of British Railways’ North Eastern Region.

Over the 130 years that Woodlesford had a manned railway station there were 14 men who held the post of stationmaster. On average each was there for about nine years, although some stayed for much longer and some for just a few years.

One of those who only held the position for a short time was Spencer Nind. The electoral registers show he arrived in 1946 or 1947 and left about 4 years later. However, despite his unusual surname, very little is known¬†about his tenure and he doesn’t seem to have been remembered by anybody who knew the station at that time. Nor does his name feature in any newspaper reports about the area.

The only information about him comes from records available on genealogy websites and a few newspaper mentions in Staffordshire where he was born in September 1900. Both his father and grandfather were butchers in the Stoke-on-Trent district but Spencer doesn’t appear to have wanted to follow them in the trade. Towards the end of First World War he was registered as being a member of the Royal Navy Reserve in or near Bristol. Returning home he lived with his parents and became a booking clerk for the North Staffordshire Railway at Etruria station in Stoke-on-Trent close to one of the Wedgwood potteries. Officialdom is then silent until his marriage to Dorothy Foster in Staffordshire in 1929.

Ten years later they were living in Guiseley on the line between Leeds and Ilkley which was run jointly by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway and the London & North Eastern Railway. His occupation of relief clerk, travelling from station to station, providing sickness and holiday cover, would have demanded a degree of experience and training. The couple also appear to have bought their own house, possibly on a railway company mortgage. No children were listed in their household.

They are next heard of in Woodlesford living in the stationmaster’s house where they were registered to vote. It’s possible that they may also have kept on their house in Guiseley or rented it out. After Woodlesford a newspaper report from 1954 records him as the stationmaster at Alsager near Stoke which had won a best kept station competition. A later report from 1957 said he ‘d been decorating the walls of his office with the certificates from best kept garden and tidiness competitions won over the previous two decades. Two years after retirement age Spencer died in 1967. Dorothy Nind lived a little longer and an Alsager address was given she when she passed away in 1975.

Spencer Nind is standing nearest the gas lamp supervising his staff on the platform at Alsager in 1954.